Nail Biting - A Habit to Avoid
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
Ceylon Today Features
We all have our habits which we do without even thinking. Biting your nails is one of the many common habits that people have and do all the time. If you’ve ever had the habit or have someone you know that has this habit, you know that plenty of people are there to say that biting your nails is a bad thing to do and needs to be stopped.
While this is true, many fail to give a decent explanation to why nail biting is so bad. The reasons are sometimes outlandish but are always very inconsistent, with different people having many different reasons.
If you’ve been confused by such reasons, we are here to set things straight with some definite reasons why nail biting is bad for you and some great ideas to help you overcome the habit if you’ve been having trouble dealing with the habit.
With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, it’s important that we all be careful with germs. Because we use our hands to interact with the world around us, and germs love to camp out right under your fingernails. Biting on them means those germs get a one way ticket into your mouth.
Of course that means you’ll be getting sick more often (which nobody likes). Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and to stop biting your nails to protect you from getting sick.
You risk the chance of infection
By biting and chewing on your nails frequently, your skin under the nails can get hurt which leaves you risking an infection from happening. If that ever happens, the infected area around your nail will start to swell up, grow a reddish tinge and start to hurt really bad.
Your nails will start to grow weird
If you keep biting your nails all the time, you’ll sometimes bite a bit more than you want and tear at the sensitive skin underneath. When this happens, torn pieces of skin will start to appear which are called hangnails. Ingrown fingernails can also happen as well which are not fun at all to look after. If they get worse, you’ll have to talk to a doctor to have the ingrown nails removed.
The damaged skin can actually change the natural way they grow as well, leaving you with abnormal-looking nails.
Your teeth might get damaged
Your teeth are covered with enamel, which is one of the hardest minerals found in your body. However, your nails are also made of a very hard substance called keratin, which is also found in the horns and antlers of deer and African rhinos. Regularly biting and chewing your nails will not only cause them to shift out of place, but can also damage the teeth or even break them.
How to get over it
If you realised that it’s time to get over the habit of biting your nails, here are some easy tips to help you break the habit. Keep your hands occupied- busy hands mean that there isn’t enough time to bite on your nails. Try learning an instrument or use a fidget spinner to keep your hands busy.
Find a substitute- Instead of chewing on your nails, why not find a substitute instead? By using a substitute such as chewing gum or some other alternative instead to help you whenever you feel the urge to bite your nails.
Avoid triggers- If you know what usually triggers you into biting your nails, then do your best to avoid doing so when such a situation happens. If you can, try to avoid being in situations that trigger your habit as well.
While these are some basic measures you can do, ask your parents for help as well to learn other ways to break your habit of biting nails. While it may be hard at the start, remember that doing so will help you in keeping your nails happy and healthy.